Entries Tagged 'County Commission' ↓

Minnehaha County Commission Races

Rumor has it that a Sioux Falls city councilor that is term limited this Spring is considering a run for the county commission. Also, some have been suspecting that appointed commissioner Jean Bender will not run because she has found the job to be ‘overwhelming’.

Maybe if the commission would have been more transparent when they made the appointment, they would have picked someone who was more ‘committed’ to public service instead of someone who was ‘connected’ in the developer community.

But what do I know, I’m just a speculator.

Homan’s Horse Barn Hectics

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Well if you want to kill an hour of your time and lose 60 minutes you will NEVER get back, watch the latest Minnehaha County Commission meeting (10/6/2015).

As a commissioner said to me today (explaining the proceedings) “It was truly watching sausage being made.”

I guess that is a nice way of putting it. It was a cluster F’ of sub motions, memory loss, angry directors, staff attorneys and literally horse trading events. When the smoke cleared, Homan was sent back to the planning commission (3-2) to figure out how to re-build a horse barn (that doesn’t need to be re-built, because, well, it is still there).

The Homan’s were looking for a ‘safety net’ so to speak ‘in-case’ the barn would to burn down or get carried away by a tornado or other natural disaster (you never know these days). The problem? It’s not zoned ag (anymore).

See the county isn’t to blame, and neither are the zoning laws. It seems (what I could gather from the sausage fest) that the Homan’s were duped into buying a ‘quaint’ little acreage that isn’t zoned ag. See the barn was originally built on 40 acres of ag zoned land, and the owner of that parcel decided to make a smaller parcel for the Homans to purchase, but either he didn’t tell them the zoning would change OR they didn’t research it, either way, it seems according to the planning director for the county, they are SOL.

Funny, after all the years of Homan skirting the School District’s rules of actually living in the district you work for, it seems there are some rules that cannot be stretched.

Lincoln County Commissioner King’s anti-bike rant further proves that some people shouldn’t be elected to public office


I bet you my horse you wouldn’t catch me riding a bicycle on the streets of Sioux Falls.

Should we be just a bit concerned that an elected official in one of the fastest growing counties in the United States is anti-bicycle? Yes we should.

Sitting on several boards as part of my duties, I’ve been learning more about the new bicycle lanes that have cropped up around town. I couldn’t be more concerned about the hazardous conditions these create on our streets.

I’ve been around enough to know the arguments before I even hear them, that safe drivers and safe bicyclists doing what they’re supposed to should make for a happy mix. That’s pure fantasy.

Bikes and vehicles shouldn’t share confined space, period.

Well Dan, I’m not going to pull any fancy statistical math out of my butt, but I will pull some stats from my personal experience. The safest place for any bicyclist is on the street, riding with traffic and obeying the same laws as motorists. Bicyclists should also wear bright clothes, have lights and a helmet. I have been riding on the streets/sidewalks/bike trails of Sioux Falls since 1993. Guess how many accidents I have been in riding on the streets? Zero. Guess how many I have been in riding on the bike trail or sidewalks . . . I have lost track. I have broken my elbow trying to avoid a pedestrian on a sidewalk, I have been bumped numerous times by vehicles coming out of approaches while riding on the sidewalk, I almost dislocated my shoulder while hitting a curb, riding on the sidewalk (that one destroyed the entire front of my bike). I have also gotten a fat lip from eating my handlebars after going off the curb, while riding on the sidewalk. Besides the occasional ‘F’You!’ from motorists riding on the street or the honk of a horn and a middle finger, NO one has ever hit me either intentionally or accidently riding on the street. Why you ask? BECAUSE MOTORISTS CAN SEE YOU! It really is that simple.

I’d hang my hat on the premise that South Dakotans employ a larger degree of logic and reasoning. Unfortunately, bicycle lanes are planned by a tiny group of elected officials and paid planners/consultants.

I probably wouldn’t hang my hat there when it comes to planning bike lanes, and while I often cringe when public officials hire ‘consultants’ I guess I would much prefer a bike/traffic professional planning our bike lanes then farmer Joe. You don’t go to a Chiropractor to cure Cancer, you go to an Oncologist (that’s the fancy word for Cancer Doctor, BTW).

I’m concerned that the vast majority of Sioux Falls motorists will have no idea they’re coming till they turn onto the new streets.

I would agree that that is unfortunate, but as I tell all of my friends who are getting into bike commuting and riding on our streets, RIDE DEFENSIVELY and CARRY A BIG HORN! The same goes for driving a car or walking across a street, always be aware of your surroundings. Do motorists get a free pass because they drive a much larger heavier vehicle? They can just plow people over if they don’t see them? That is about as ridiculous statement as it comes.

I’ve raised my concerns, and probably a couple tempers voicing these thoughts in board meetings. I’ve hit a brick wall in doing anything about it myself.

Dan, you have probably hit a brick wall because YOU ARE WRONG and people are tired of arguing with you and all your ‘wrongness’.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to let my fellow drivers know what’s coming. Be safe folks, on two wheels or several. Logic and reasoning were both left untouched in the toolbox on this one.

I would also like to take this opportunity to tell the same folks to NOT re-elect Dan King to the county commission. Logic and reasoning were obviously left untouched in the ballot box when he was elected to his first term.

We need bicycle lanes on our Sioux Falls streets, it just makes sense.

Mayor Huether really doesn’t understand the city’s relationship with the two sharing counties


“I only attend the important meetings. Now who wants a banana?”

Well you have to laugh when Minnehaha County Commissioner, Jeff Barth says this;

A few of the county commissioners say they cannot remember the last time a sitting mayor spoke at one of their meetings.

He actually went on to say it has been NINE years since they have seen a sitting mayor of Sioux Falls at their meeting.

Commissioner Barth also asked the mayor about the growing crime rate in the city.

But that isn’t the only meetings the mayor has been missing out on. During the Sioux Falls city council informational councilors hammered the mayor about his absence at the county/city coffees the city council has each month with Lincoln and Minnehaha county commissioners and Erpenbach asked why the mayor hasn’t attended the joint meetings lately at Carnegie. After he danced around the question for about 2 minutes he told Erpenbach he has a “Busy Schedule”. You know, it’s hard to pencil in a meeting when you are flying all over the state campaigning(?) for governor. Funny how he has time to go to Yankton, the Black Hills and next week to Brookings, but he can’t drive 10 minutes across town to attend an EVENING meeting at Carnegie. Councilor Erickson also reiterated that the mayor needs to attend the meetings and that they have been very productive. Councilor Jamison went as far to tell the mayor he is a “year behind” when it comes to negotiations with the counties about partnerships because he doesn’t attend the meetings. Huether said he has “got his staff on it.” So now the taxpayers are paying staffers to do the Mayor’s job so he can hop scotch around the state. Nice. Maybe if the mayor wants to spend more time campaigning then actually doing his job, someone can teach him how to teleconference using Skype. Let’s face it, he doesn’t attend these meetings because he is not in charge.

The Minnehaha County Commission also wondered if there could be any (financial) partnerships with the city;

Commissioner Jeff Barth hopes the county sees more benefits from whatever partnerships are in the future.

“The fact is that our revenues are growing at 30-percent of the revenues of the city and the state, and yet our responsibilities are increasing at a greater level,” Barth said.

Ironically, Huether talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. The city could easily give the county a lot more of the kitty by simply cutting them a check for ‘services rendered’. I would much more prefer $24 million dollars of my tax money going to the county for services then purchasing an indoor pool that will only cost us millions each year in operations and maintenance.

Dick Kelly also scrutinizes the city’s use of TIF’s;

Development in the city continues to grow every year, with Huether saying Sioux Falls has doubled its number of TIFs in the last five and a half years. Commissioner Dick Kelly says those impact the county city immediately with sales and property tax dollars.

“We don’t see anything for generally 20 years when that property tax growth comes.  Yet our expenses continue to rise and rise and rise.  I just ask you continue to be very selective in what you do with the TIF programs,” Kelly said.

“You should demand that we scrutinize these TIFs and I will assure you we are,” Huether said.

LOL! We are already past the $500 million mark on building permits for the year and we are setting up to be another record year for them, yet somehow we need TIF’s? Boloney. Developers ask for TIF’s because they can. A great example is when the Lloyd companies asked for a TIF on the School for the Deaf property, then bailed on it when they couldn’t get one, yet another investor came in, didn’t ask for a TIF and has tons of interest in the property from other investors And it’s not like this guy is the wealthiest developer in town, it’s ‘Uncle Bruce’ who owns used car lots. TIF’s are not needed in Sioux Falls, they only have an adverse effect on county and school funding, they need to be eliminated.

Maybe our Mayor would understand the county relationship better if he attended a lot more government meetings instead jumping out of helicopters like he is a monkey.

Mayor Huether to give same presentation to Minnehaha County Commission and Sioux Falls City Council on the same day?

So this is interesting, our Crybayor is going to address the county and city elected legislators on the same day, which apparently looks like the same presentation;



The details to both presentations are mum, I guess. But the running joke is that the mayor will be bragging about the $75K bathroom money for the fairgrounds.


Is Mayor Huether going to address the Minnehaha County Commission on Tuesday, September 1st?

The County Commission has not yet posted their agenda for Tuesday, September 1st, so I am not sure if it will be a planned presentation or public input. But if it is public input, I must remind the county commission to only allow him to speak for five minutes, which I know will be difficult for him, especially after watching him ramble for over 20 minutes during Chief Barthel’s retirement announcement.

The rumor floating around is that he is going to talk to the commission about ‘working’ with them. I guess it has only taken him 5 years to figure out we have a county government.


Sioux Falls City Council Tidbits, 7/28/2015

There is only three fun meetings this week (excluding the regular meeting);

• 3 PM Land Use meeting, finally an update on the Billboard Ordinance changes.

• 4 PM Informational, Indoor Aquatic Center Update, whatever that is.

• 5 PM, Joint City Council/Minnehaha County Meeting, FEMA Map update, complete with 100 new homes in the flood plain in Northeastern Sioux Falls.

Another SD lawmaker craps in the Marital Bed of governing

Yup, these are the kind of people that serve as county commissioners in our state, and you thought Dick Kelly said outrageous things;

Meade County Commissioner Alan Aker

Government Official · 216 Likes

· June 26 at 10:08am ·

I was just notified by the county’s insurer that in light of the final federal court (Sorry to say, they’ve lost their “Supreme” title as far as I’m concerned. Of course, they’re no longer a court either, but I’m at a loss on what to call them.) decision on gay marriage, the county may be liable for its own costs if our register of deeds does not allow filing of same-sex marriages. Our register of deeds is an independent official and she will decide whether to obey our robed “legislators”. I expect she will. A word to any readers who are celebrating this news: I wouldn’t spike the ball just yet. You haven’t gained marriage “equality”, I predict you have ended marriage as a civil institution. One by one, states will remove it from statutes. It will be an exclusively religious institution. For awhile, some of our churches will refuse to perform same-sex marriages, and get away with it. Since liberals never stop, they’ll use courts to strip these churches of their tax-exempt statuses. These churches will be blessed and will thrive anyway. On the bright side, the federal income tax marriage penalty will disappear as it becomes impossible to determine who is married, since it will vary according to which churches we belong to. On the downside, among the non-religious, spouses will devolve to easily-discarded roommate-sex partners. Children will suffer abuse and abandonment in the ever-changing domestic arrangements. May the Holy Spirit do a new work among us and help us heal these new victims, and help us in a reconstruction of this wreckage.

Not sure if I want to even pick this apart? God help us all! Believe it or not though, I have never believed in marriage in the legal sense. I have often thought of marriage as a ‘spiritual bond’ whether you have a religion or not. I do however believe if you have children (Straight or Gay couples) there has to be some kind of legal precedent, I also think there needs to be some kind of legal agreement between couples that don’t have children, but share all the other aspects of married life (just not the rings). I think what people are missing the most about the gay marriage issue is it is about ‘equality’ and as long as straight couples can get legally married, then gay couples should be able to. It’s really that simple.

Does appointed Minnehaha County Commissioner Jean Bender know what a farm is?

I warned certain people with the county that Jean’s inexperience with the rural aspects of serving as a commissioner would probably not make her the most qualified for the job and her extreme conflict of interest with having one of the largest developers in Sioux Falls and the county as a husband. But of course, the county commission took a different route, kept the selection process extremely secretive and hand-picked (another) attorney for the commission.

What concerns me is that the commission doesn’t have one single person on it that understands rural issues, I think the only one that lives outside of Sioux Falls is Cindy, and she is an attorney. Barth is a retired union lineman, Beninga, who runs Active Generations, I believe is an accountant, an attorney, a former nurse, and Dick Kelly, a retired house and land salesman that spends a good deal of his time outside of Minnehaha county at his vacation residence (ironically he probably has the most experience with rural living – just not in Minnehaha County).

Recently Commissioner Bender went on a bender about the proposed CAFO’s, she seemed to be upset that someone didn’t bring computer renderings of their proposed site. But that wasn’t even a part of the proposal. The landowners were looking for the permission from the county to go ahead and take the next step of actually planning the CAFO’s. Their arguments were fair, why spend the money on expensive computer renderings and blueprints if the county isn’t going to give them permission to begin with to start the planning process (CUP) (They have to come back to the commission with the building plans before dirt can be moved). Bender wasn’t having it, she voted against the CUPs because of ‘napkin’ drawings continually changing (which was due to the neighbors and county attorney) and claiming the applicants were disorganized. While I could partially agree, it was evident they weren’t members of the toastmasters, they knew exactly where they wanted to build their CAFO’s (on their land) and they also knew how many cattle they wanted to operate with. They really didn’t need to tell Bender anything else. For that matter, they could have gotten out an Etch & Sketch and handed her that – it didn’t change the location of their farms or the size of the operations.

All she proved is that she doesn’t understand that in rural Minnehaha County there are farms, and some of those farms have cows, and some of those cows poop, and on occasion, that poop stinks (some of it). She also doesn’t get the fact that when a farmer may build a structure for themselves they don’t come to town and hire an expensive architect to draw up plans for a pole barn (just the city of Sioux Falls does foolish things like that). They get out a tape measure and a level and figure it out in their heads (believe it or not, farmers are good at math). She seems to be more concerned about where her husband may be planning his next big annexation/and housing development (that doesn’t have to breath in the evil smells of a farm) then she is about encouraging ag growth in the county.

I highly suggest a well respected farmer in the county runs against Bender in 2016 and send her packing back to the non-transparent, big-city appointment, computer rendering world she came from, and she can go back to using napkins for what they were intended for, writing down grocery lists, dirty jokes and keeping your martini glass from sticking to the bar.


The Minnehaha County Commission approves Med-Star over Paramedics Plus today for paramedic service

I don’t know a lot of details at this point, but I do know their contract was approved 5-0 by the Commission and two of the main factors for approval was quality of services and response times.